Monday, November 26, 2007

Love Letter to Denver

Dear Denver,

I've really only known this city. I was born here. Grew up in its perfect climate. I only left for five years, but came back to raise my family. This is my city. This is my home.

I have snapshots in my head of those days when I realize how much I love it here. Almost all sunny. Sometimes with rainbows.

There are the days, at Bronco games; sunny, warm December days, climbing the ramps to my seats, feeling a crowd of Denverites collecting to enjoy the day and our sport and some coors light. I look over the edge of the stadium, either facing west, to our mountains, or east, to our city, and just feel so lucky to be a part of this life here. We've got it good.

There are the hot summer days, the sun lasting late into the evening. I take the Kid to Liks for ice cream and then the musuem to run through the dancing fountain on the west side. This is my favorite place to see Denver from the steps of the DMNS.

There are my every day walks from my office west to the Union Station, the quick jaunt (which is never so quick) to the Tattered Cover, or the north route, insanely more interesting but arguably less safe, up to 22nd St then east toward the federal courthouse and back.

There are the nights out, I love to go out in Denver, to the dive bars on Colfax or the swanky spots in LoDo (but never, ever on Market Street, except for El Chapultepec), the neighborhood bars all over the city. I love to go out in Denver because jeans are perfectly acceptable attire for a steakhouse. I love to go out in Denver because there's always something new, but not so much new that you need entire magazines to navigate the city. It's a managable size, is all. My head wraps around Denver, and I love it.

I love that I know too much useless trivia about this place that I could never ever learn if I went somewhere else. Like, The Buckhorn is liquor license number one. The Cruise Room is number two, and is an exact replica of the bar on the Queen Mary. Or that the city's distinctive houses are all built with brick, partially because the city burned down a few times, but also because the city was run at the turn of the century by the bricklayers (or rather, the bosses of the bricklayers). I love that I know the streets and the locales and the city like the back of my hand. I can't imagine not working downtown, and if that all changes, I'll need to make special dates just to hang out down there. I wish I could live down there, but that's a different story entirely.

I love being a native of this place. Really. I love how my family made it here, between my dad's family, Paddy working on the railroad and all, or my mom, California dreaming in the sixties but just not quite being able to leave Colorado once she arrived here along the way. I also love that my family is still here (with one exception), that we're freakishly close and all love to be here for these exact reasons. The Broncos, the sun, the mountains, the sun, the history, the city, each other.

Denver is not a city with a whole lot of character of its own. It's newish, the architecture speaks to its boom and bust cycles. We like beer, we love sports, most of us like bikes and/or skiing. Apparently, a lot of us have dogs, and are skinnier than say, Indianapolis.

My love for Denver is not really about Denver. Its about my life, because it's here, in Denver, and that life is so rich, it's all love, all over.

I remember driving home from college with my sister Peggy after I graduated. I was really not looking forward to spending the summer in Denver. A lot of my friends had moved. Shannon had a baby. I had broken up with my boyfriend. I could not abide living in this cowtown, and couldn't wait for the day I left again to go to Ireland. I hemmed and hawed and I don't know how Peggy didn't shove me out of the car somewhere outside of Topeka (it's hot in Topeka, you know). I finally explained all of my resistance to the place to Peggy, and she got it, but she also funadmentally disagreed with me, because she recognized the city for what it was, namely, HOME; and so, as we made that turn on I-70, early summer and the thunderstorms that accompany it, we were treated to and explosion of sun out of the clouds, those God-rays, the shafts of light, and rainbows. Plural. I tried to be smug, but I knew, I was happy to see it again. It was my home. Always was, and always will be.


Mr Lady said...

Dude, I was doing so well. I was focused, and damn close to tearing up. And then you had to go ahead and talk about Toe. Pee. Ka. and how hawt it is there.

I'm going to have to start all over now.

molly_g said...

That was just for you, toe picker.

Leslie Dillinger said...

Ah, Denver. I'll get to revisit her in less than a month. Looking forward to it.

Peggy said...

Yeah, that view of the foothills and mountains as we drove around the south and west side of town on 470 is an indelible snapshot in my brain. I'll never forget how BEAUTIFUL it was - and even though we've seen other beautiful views of the mountains (and the city off to the right from that view), I don't know that I've ever seen it quite like that again. That was your welcome mat, Molls.

I love that we share the same Home. I'll always be grateful to The Kid for bringing you back home to me.